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Proposed Shoreham-Wading River budget includes funds for new psychologist

Glen Arcuri, assistant superintendent for finance and operations, said last Tuesday that the Shoreham-Wading River School District can finalize the 2018-19 budget at its meeting tonight now that New York State has adopted its education budget.

The state budgeted $12,774,805 in aid for Shoreham-Wading River, an increase over last year of 13.28 percent, or $87,740. The district had originally estimated state aid at $12,687,065, and has updated the budget to reflect the increase.

A notable increase was in the area of building aid, which rose by over 150 percent, from $959,910 to $2,406,867.

Mr. Arcuri focused part of his final budget presentation last week on the district’s mental health staff. Currently, there is one psychologist at the high school, one at the middle school and one and a half at the two elementary buildings. In addition, the high school and middle school each have one full-time social worker. Three guidance counselors at the high school and two at the middle school complete the mental health team.

Related: Shoreham-Wading River District to decrease tax levy

“The current team is able to meet the current needs but are stretched thin,” Mr. Arcuri said.

Under the proposed enhancement, one psychologist will be added to oversee all Committee on Preschool Special Education meetings and to provide additional support for both secondary buildings.

The district also wants to contract with an outside agency to provide services outside the scope of district staff, such as connecting students with off-campus mental health services when necessary.

“There are groups of students and families that indicated they need additional support to really make those contacts with those outside agencies,” Superintendent Gerard Poole said. “That work has taken up a lot of the time of the school psychologists and mental health staff and this relief would really provide space in all the psychologists’ and social workers’ schedules to serve other students in the school.”

Contingency funds that were to be used to launch the pre-kindergarten program have been redirected to fund the total cost.

The 2018-19 draft budget totals $74.7 million, which represents an increase of .95 percent — or $701,500 — over the current budget.

In total, the tax levy — the amount collected by the district — will decrease by just over a half-percent. The district needs approval from only a simple majority of voters to pass the budget.

The school board is set to vote tonight on adopting the final budget.

Photo caption: The Shoreham-Wading River School District is expected to adopt the 2018-19 budget at its next meeting. (Rachel Siford)

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